Mo dedicates his title win to Malcolm Willstrop
By SEAN REUTHE – Squash Mad Correspondent
Top seeds Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nour El Sherbini are the 2021 El Gouna International Squash Open champions after they overcame World No.4 Paul Coll and World No.2 Nouran Gohar, respectively, to win the PSA World Tour Platinum event, which was held at the El Gouna Conference and Culture Center for the first time.
ElShorbagy has won his second El Gouna International trophy after a sensational performance from the World No.2 saw him outclass New Zealand’s Coll 11-5, 11-2, 11-7 in 47 minutes, a win which sees him close the gap on current World No.1 Ali Farag.
It’s ElShorbagy’s 43rd title on the PSA Tour, and it puts him just one behind French veteran Gregory Gaultier, who currently sits fifth on the all-time winners list.
“I’m really happy to win here at home,” said ElShorbagy. “To win my second title here means the world to me and to do it in front of my parents, this means so much for me. I’m here today because of them and I would have never dreamed of achieving everything I have in my career if you didn’t take me to every training session. My parents have done everything so thank you both for everything.
“This is the ninth edition of El Gouna and I’ve played all nine times. I can remember the first time [tournament promoter, Amr] Mansi did this tournament and I remember all the conversations.
“Your whole story is inspiring, and I’ve seen your story from day one, everything you have achieved and thank you so much for everything you have done for the sport, you’ve taken it to another level. I’d also like to thank all the sponsors for getting us back here, they have done an amazing job to support a great event.”
In a touching moment, ElShorbagy dedicated his win to “the Pontefract squash family” following the recent death of coach Malcolm Willstrop. “We have lost a great man who has done so much for our sport,” said ElShorbagy.
Meanwhile, El Sherbini has won her 24th PSA Tour title which puts her level with the legendary Raneem El Welily, meaning they are the most successful Egyptian women of all time.
El Sherbini, the World No.1, has lifted her first El Gouna International trophy after beating Gohar 11-7, 11-8, 11-5 in 38 minutes.
The 25-year-old was immaculate throughout the match and put in a peerless display to capture her third PSA Tour title of the season after previous wins at the CIB Egyptian Open and CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open.
“I’ve been playing Nouran for a long time now and at a Platinum event as the No.1 and No.2 it was going to be a tough match,” said El Sherbini.
“She has been playing well the whole tournament and we’re two different styles, so I tried to bring my game more than her game and that was my plan today.
“She is the World No.2, so I always have to be ready. Every point she is fighting and never gives up, so I was making sure I won every point and not give up. I had to bring my ‘A’ game and I’m glad it was working today.”
ElShorbagy and El Sherbini win $22,800 for their efforts, while ElShorbagy has automatically qualified for June’s CIB PSA World Tour Finals as a result of his win. El Sherbini had already qualified courtesy of her Egyptian Open win in October.
2021 El Gouna International Squash Open, El Gouna Conference and Culture Center, El Gouna, Egypt.
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Paul Coll (NZL) 3-0: 11-5, 11-2, 11-7 (49m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 11-5 (38m)
Pictures courtesy of PSA